Self-care. It may seem like another trending phrase, but it’s more important now than ever, in a world constantly on the go.
But it’s not just the occasional bubble bath, or a
hearty pat on the back from you to yourself – self-care can take many forms,
and involves a bit of discipline and routine to ensure you don’t drop your
newly established good habits.
Feeling worn out? Here are some ways to set yourself up for better mental health, and have you feeling on top of the world – not scrambling beneath its weight.
Break the habit
Are you one of the billions who are addicted to
their phones, constantly craving a quick dopamine hit only a cat meme can
provide? Next time you put down your phone after
scanning social media, online shopping, reading the news, or whatever you’ve
been compelled into doing, ask yourself – do you actually feel any happier? If
not, all you need to do is create a few boundaries between you and your hand-held
Establish more control by restricting
your phone use until you have a good reason to, which will free your mind to contemplate
other things. While it’s tempting to Google every question that pops into your
head, try to hold off by writing them down on a notepad, to answer later in an isolated
block of ‘phone time’. Letting your phone use bleed into every aspect of your
day is the easiest way to lose control.
For some great advice, be sure to check out ‘How to break up with your phone’by Catherine Price.
Build on something new
Maybe you’ve contemplated starting a new
hobby that taps into a skill, or unleashes your creative spirit? Well, now’s
the time to make a start. Investing time in a specific activity can enrich the
soul and boost your confidence – it could even lead to an exciting career change.
You could start with something small and simple, or just launch fearlessly into something left of field, which could become a talking point with friends and colleagues. To kill multiple birds with one stone, try something that gets you physically active, socially active, or creates something physical that can become a part of your home. It could be anything from sourdough bread baking to galaxy water painting, or Maneki-Neko making.
Leisure time doesn’t have to mean low
productivity – productivity offers satisfaction, and feeling satisfied is key
to good mental health. Setting goals (outside of your work life) gives you something
enriching to think about, plan towards, and look back on with pride.
Book a check-up
Everyone gets in a low mood every now
and then, and understanding how to cope with these emotions is a very important
aspect of self-care.
Booking an appointment with a
psychologist or counsellor might sound a bit excessive, but just like getting regular
medical or dental examinations, checking in with a mental health professional can
be a great way to gain some perspective. Therapy can help you analyse and
reframe your thinking so you can better appreciate what is important, and how
you can work towards a better version of yourself.
Some businesses and institutions have
these services available free of charge, you’ll just need to ask around or do
some research. For those who are having an especially hard time and think they
may need on-going support, ask your local GP about setting up a mental health care plan.
Ask yourself how
Finally, ask yourself honestly – is there is anything you can do to improve your wellbeing overall? Is it more sleep that you need? A holiday? More family time? If you can build better habits, and invest more time in fruitful activities, you’ll be stronger and better equipped to deal with challenges down the track.
If you’re ever in need of help – don’t hesitate to get in touch with an OUA student advisor, who can help you find ways to better balance study, work and life.